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The Day After, Part II: Reducing mental errors key for defense


JACKSONVILLE – They saw again Monday what they saw before.

That meant a lot of the same sorts of quotes from Jaguars defensive players this Monday as last Monday, with the general theme pretty much the same, too.

The problems and issues are there to see, and they're not complicated.

Now, they have to stop.

"We've got some guys doing the right thing, and some guys not," defensive tackle Roy Miller said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 44-17 Week 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field Sunday afternoon. "That kind of stuff gets you beat.

"It's a recurring theme that we need to get fixed. I don't know how many ways we can say it. We just have to do it."

The Jaguars, who have allowed more points (119) and yards (466 per game) than any other team in the NFL, allowed 529 yards to the Colts. They allowed 41 points and 449 yards in a loss to Washington last week.

The defense issues were serious enough that they not only dominated Head Coach Gus Bradley's next-day press conference Monday, they were the primary topic when players met the media shortly thereafter.

Bradley said changes were possible on that side of the ball, specifying problems at linebacker and in the secondary. Players didn't talk much about specifics later in the day.

They did say improvement was necessary – and very possible.

"We need to stop the bleeding and progress from that," Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz said. "We're going to get things done quickly, hopefully. We just need to do our job.

"That's the main point to this week – just doing your job."

Bradley said earlier in the day the problems were more execution than play calling, and said often it appeared that 10 players were in the right spot with one player making an error. Miller agreed.

"You look at the film and it looks simple: 'Just do your job,'" Miller said. "It sounds simple to say that, and it really is. I think it's that simple. … You just have to do your job, and at least give us a chance to fight."

Miller said an issue the Jaguars face is missed assignments that lead to explosive plays.

"You can't fight that," Miller said. "You can't see another down. Those types of plays we have to get rid of. The little plays, where someone misses a tackle or something like that, we can fight that. When a guy busts whatever he's doing, he doesn't give the whole defense a chance. That's what we have to get past."

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Running back Denard Robinson said he's ready for an increased role. Bradley early in the afternoon had said he expected that to happen, with Robinson having played well in recent weeks and rushing for 33 yards on eight carries against Indianapolis. "I want to still focus on what I need to do to get better," the second-year veteran said. "That shows Gus trusts me and (offensive coordinator) Jedd (Fisch) trusts me. Now, I have to put my head down to work." Asked how much better he believes he is as a running back now compared to last season, Robinson on Monday laughed. "It's not close at all," he said. "I actually picked up three blitzes (yesterday) Sunday. I probably would have known what was coming (last year), but I wouldn't have known, 'I've got to get from here to here to make it (the block)." Robinson said blitz pickup and other non-running duties has been a focus. "With the ball in my hands, I'm pretty good," he said. "What I want to be good at is when I don't have the ball in my hands." …

*Bradley said the offensive line played better Sunday overall than the week before, allowing four sacks and helping the Jaguars rush for 105 yards on 25 carries. The Jaguars moved center Luke Bowanko into the starting lineup over Jacques McClendon and released right tackle Cameron Bradfield the previous week after the line allowed 10 sacks in a loss to Washington. Sam Young started at right tackle Sunday, though Austin Pasztor (hand) is expected to start upon his return. "The second half for sure (was better)," left tackle Luke Joeckel said. "We didn't do what we needed to do in the first half. That's on our shoulders, too. We definitely got better. We just have to put together a whole game. That's the most important thing." …

*Bradley said early in the afternoon there was a decided difference in players' energy level when rookie quarterback Blake Bortles entered the game in the second half. "You would hope not, but it just happens, right?" Bradley said. "When the offense is moving the ball and they can feel it, it does affect the defense and vice-versa, too. I think it does have an impact. I think you saw the energy level go up." Bradley added, "I think the overall feel, when we started having some success, that really permeated through the whole team," Bradley said. …

*Bradley addressed again the timing and decision-making process regarding moving Bortles into the starting lineup. He said that Bortles' grasp of the offense and his understanding of the responsibilities of other offensive players increased over time, and that overall, he had a feeling after talking with Bortles last week that the rookie was ready. "I think in my conversation with him, I just really felt a sense of confidence," Bradley said. "I knew that at that point, 'OK, he's ready to go. Now, let's go build a body of work when that time presents itself.'"

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